Baty goes batty with two more home runs in suspended game

August 5th, 2022

Mother Nature is about the only thing that can stop  at the moment.

Baseball's No. 18 overall prospect continued his torrid hitting, slugging two-run homers in his first two at-bats before severe weather suspended the game between Double-A Binghamton and Somerset. The contest will resume Friday at 4 p.m. ET with the Rumble Ponies leading, 10-1, with one out in the top of the third inning.

Regardless of the score and the stoppage in play, Baty's two homers will count when the game resumes, giving him -- for now -- five in his past seven contests and 15 since June 1.

The secret to his recent success isn't much of one at all.

"I've been staying within myself and doing a lot of extra [batting] cage work," Baty said. "Just working on different things like recognizing pitches earlier, which helps to lay off ones out of the zone and doing damage to ones in the zone. I'm taking things one at-bat at a time."

The 22-year-old took those lessons into the batters' box at TD Bank Ballpark, connecting on his first long ball in the opening frame. Baty made it 2-for-2 in the roundtripper department during Binghamton's seven-run second inning, giving him his second multihomer game in less than a week and four in his career.

"I’ve always felt that I have the power to hit home runs," Baty said. "I hit the ball hard, but working on some of the things I mentioned has allowed me to catch the balls a little more out front. I started realizing what that and earlier pitch recognition can do for me at the plate."

Baty's ability to hit the ball hard was one of the reasons the Mets selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 Draft. The Texas native homered seven times in 51 games during his professional debut that same year and went deep 12 times in 91 contests in 2021. Baty's two home runs on Thursday pushed his total to 18 on the season, a figure that looks even more impressive considering he entered June with three.

Like most hitters, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder does not look for the long ball when he's up at the plate, but if it happens, so be it.

"I don't go up there to try and hit home runs," Baty said. "I'm trying to hit the ball hard up the middle. If it goes out, that's a run for the team and that's good for us."

Baty has already seen baseball's No. 1 prospect Francisco Álvarez promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. Could Baty be far behind? Since entering June with a .250/.349/.409 slash line, three homers and 10 RBIs, he's slashing .347/.434/.628 with 15 jacks and 44 RBIs to lift his overall average to .308 and his OPS to .939 in 85 games.

Despite his sizzling stretch, Baty isn't looking any further ahead than his next at-bat or play in the field. He's learned enough in his three years as a pro to understand how quickly the good times can turn.

"I'm just focused on being the best ballplayer I can be," he said. "When Francisco was called up, I was so happy for him because I know how hard he's worked and it paid off. It was awesome to see the joy on his face when he told us.

"If that ends up happening to me [this season], I'll be thrilled. If it doesn't, then I'll keep working and be happy I'm doing it in Binghamton."